Toke for Toklas.
One of the most important faces of gay pride and cannabis activism is Alice Toklas. A feminist, chef, and cannabis lover, Toklas–the longtime partner of American writer Gertrude Stein–was an all-around badass who stormed Paris’ salon scene and helped set the stage for the modern LGBTQ+ movement.
Born in San Francisco in 1877, she survived the city’s 1906 earthquake then relocated to Paris in 1907. On her second day in the City of Lights she met famed writer Gertrude Stein – and the rest, as they say, is history.
Stein and Toklas fell in love and for the next 40 years dominated Paris’ art scene (when not driving ambulances during WWI), hosting some of the city’s most celebrated salons which included Ernest Hemingway, Paul Bowles, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Matisse.
Toklas gained fame first as the subject of Stein’s best-selling book “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas” and years later – not to be outdone by her beloved – published a self-titled cookbook famous for its “Haschich Fudge” recipe of fruits, nuts, and cannabis sativa. Here’s the original 1954 “food of paradise” recipe:
Haschich Fudge (which anyone could whip up on a rainy day)
This is the food of Paradise—of Baudelaire’s Artificial Paradises: it might provide an entertaining refreshment for a Ladies’ Bridge Club or a chapter meeting of the DAR. In Morocco it is thought to be good for warding off the common cold in damp winter weather and is, indeed, more effective if taken with large quantities of hot mint tea. Euphoria and brilliant storms of laughter; ecstatic reveries and extension of one’s personality on several simultaneous planes are to be complacently expected. Almost anything Saint Theresa did, you can do better if you can bear to be ravished by “un évanouissement reveillé.”
Take 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 whole nutmeg, 4 average sticks of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon coriander. These should all be pulverised in a mortar. About a handful each of stoned dates, dried figs, shelled almonds and peanuts: chop these and mix them together. A bunch of cannabis sativa can be pulverised. This along with the spices should be dusted over the mixed fruit and nuts, kneaded together. About a cup of sugar dissolved in a big pat of butter. Rolled into a cake and cut into pieces or made into balls about the size of a walnut, it should be eaten with care. Two pieces are quite sufficient.
Every year in San Francisco, the nation’s top Democratic leaders and prominent LGBTQ+ activists gather with hundreds of supporters for the annual Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club’s Pride Breakfast, a must-attend event for anyone shaping LGBTQ+ public policy.
The Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club (or Alice, as it’s fondly known) was the first registered political organization for LGBTQ+ people in America. Formed in 1971, just two years after the Stonewall riots, Alice has elevated politicians, allies, and policies since the movement’s earliest days. It’s also been at the epicenter of pivotal moments in LGBTQ+ history, including Harvey Milk’s election and assassination, the AIDS epidemic, same-sex marriages at SF City Hall in 2004, and California’s fight against Proposition 8.
Today, cannabis continues its long intersection with LGBTQ+ politics with the push to restore compassionate care programs to California through SB 34, a bill sponsored by Senator Wiener.
Compassionate care, a cornerstone of the cannabis legalization movement, was a fundamental principle behind California’s medical cannabis collective model for two decades. But with the advent of the state’s regulations, the ability of cannabis businesses to provide free cannabis goods to patients was severely restricted.
This has left many thousands of low-income patients without access to affordable and legal medicine, an ironic and unacceptable byproduct of cannabis legalization which must be remedied. Learn more about this important legislation here.
The LGBTQ and cannabis access movements stand on the shoulders of people like Toklas, who lived out and proud over 60 years before Stonewall. You can learn more about incredible her life here.
At Eaze, we’re thrilled to honor today’s activists, and help tell the stories of pioneers like Toklas, whose life and work helps us all grow together.